A Kiwi director's fashion doco stands apart from the rest


James Robins reviews Yellow is Forbidden in the New Zealand Listener , 12 Nov 2018:

China’s foremost fashionista is the subject of Pietra Brettkelly's strikingly beautiful new documentary.

Guo Pei has been the éminence grise of Chinese fashion for the past decade. Her creations are ornate, baroque and bombastic. Glimmering with gold and heavy with delicate embroidery, elaborate outfits are often adorned with phoenixes and dragons. She only became known to Western audiences when the singer Rihanna walked the 2015 Met Gala red carpet in one of her most audacious garments.

Near the beginning of Yellow is Forbidden, an absorbing and gorgeous documentary about Guo from New Zealand director Pietra Brettkelly, an admiring onlooker asks the designer a question: “How does your work represent China’s haute couture?” It doesn’t, she retorts, “I’m just a designer. Not a nation.”


Ellie Southen